San Francisco Unified School District proposes meatier budget 

click to enlarge City schools would receive an extra $25 million next school year under a proposed budget. - CINDY CHEW/2008 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Cindy Chew/2008 S.F. Examiner file photo
  • City schools would receive an extra $25 million next school year under a proposed budget.

After years of cuts, San Francisco Unified School District officials are proposing a budget for next year that would increase spending by about $25 million — in part because of Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal that will increase K-12 funding. Much of what happens next for the proposed $378 million budget depends on the state government.

Brown introduced a formula in January that would dramatically increase spending for historically disadvantaged students — low income and English-language learners — and give more control to school districts on how to spend the money. That plan, if approved by the Legislature, could begin as soon as this fall. It would phase in spending increases over the next seven years.

Brown's proposal faces opposition from Democrats and Republicans, who have said they hope to delay the implementation until the 2014-15 school year. Several lawmakers also want a funding formula that increases money to all schools, not just those with disadvantaged students.

The Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that top state officials reached a deal to move Brown's proposal forward that would hand out more funding this coming school year

State lawmakers are expected to pass a budget by Saturday.

Until the budget is finalized, the school district is working under Brown's May revise, which gave the district another $15 million, according to Myong Leigh, deputy superintendent of policy and operations.

"It's a huge relief," Leigh said of the funding increases. "It's been five or six years — there has been no acknowledgement from the biggest part of our budget from the state that schools have been trying to make ends meet in impossible ways."

In the proposed budget to be discussed by the Board of Education tonight, the amount of money that will be sent to each school would increase by 1.3 percent.

But the district will still spend more than it's taking in next year.

In the proposed budget, San Francisco schools will spend $378 million to fund programs, though incoming funds only total $360 million.

The difference won't hurt the district's bottom line since there was enough money left over from this year's budget to cover expenses, Leigh said. The spending won't be able to go on that way for long.

"A general expectation is that funding for schools will increase over the next few years," Leigh said. "And we really hope that is true because we can't continue to have our expenses surpass our revenues because we won't have the additional funds — we have to make them balanced."

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